theatre of palmyra

Less damage to ancient Palmyra than feared, Syrian antiquities chief says

Damage to the World Heritage site of Palmyra by Islamic State militants may be less than earlier believed, Syria’s antiquities chief said on Friday.

Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters that video from Palmyra after it was recaptured by the Syrian army has shown less damage than archaeologists feared when pictures emerged at the beginning of the year suggesting Islamic State had smashed more monuments.

Under heavy Russian air cover, the Syrian army and allied militias drove the jihadist group out of the UNESCO world heritage site on Thursday, two months after they had seized it in a surprise advance.

Fears of a new assault on Palmyra’s heritage were raised after pictures in January showed the group had destroyed parts of the Tetrapylon, one of the city’s most iconic monuments, and the facade of the second-century Roman Theatre. Read more.